Last year, Jersey City paved the way to add another piece to its skyline and in the dog days of this year’s summer, final approvals were granted for a plan that will see a new 52-story tower built with several other community benefits.
In September 2016, Jersey City’s Planning Board voted unanimously to amend the Paulus Hook Redevelopment Plan. The move eliminated a parcel at 25 Columbus Drive from the existing plan and cleared a path to create a new redevelopment scheme specific to the site.
The change was made because of a $370 million proposal by L+M Development Partners, and those plans were granted final approval by the Planning Board on July 18th. New York-based Handel Architects has designed a project that would build the aforementioned 750-unit tower, a brand new 35,000 square foot public school, four storefronts and a public plaza, also sprucing up a current affordable housing complex in the process.
L+M and the Paulus Hook Community Housing Corporation signed a deal back in 2014 for the sale of both an existing 163-unit affordable housing building and a neighboring parking lot at the property. Under the deal, all the current affordable apartments will be maintained and L+M will invest $3 million to improve the building, work that will include new windows and façade renovations.
In exchange for that investment, L+M will get to build a 52-story, 750-unit tower on a parking lot right next door. The rental apartments at the new property will break down as 157 studios, 380 one-bedrooms, 197 2-bedrooms, and 16 3-bedrooms. Amenities at the building will include a dog run, a pool, and two roof decks totaling about 7,200 square feet. Select units in the building will sport private terraces.
38 apartments in the new tower will be set aside as moderate-income units, and 401 parking spaces will be included in the development. In addition to the tower, the project will sport 16,485-square feet of retail split up between four spaces in shorter buildings surrounding the high-rise, three of which will be located on the corner of Montgomery and Warren Streets. The fourth storefront will be along Columbus Drive in the center of the property.
In addition to the affordable units and retail, L+M will construct a 35,000-square foot school facility on another section on the property that will be deeded to the city for $1. The contract has already been approved by the Board of Education and the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency will issue $1 million in bonds for the project due to the community givebacks that are included.
A public plaza will also be built at the corner of Warren Street and Columbus Drive. L+M estimates that 350 new construction jobs and 15 permanent ones will be created when the project moves forward. However, all these benefits do have a price; the city granted the development a 25-year tax abatement in February this year by a 6-3 council vote.
The property currently produces about $51,000 in taxes annually for the city, but when the new tower rises and the retail and school components get built out, over $1.7 million per year in ratables will be generated for the city with the tax abatement. A timeline for the project isn’t clear, but during a week where another Columbus Drive development suffered a setback, it looks like the street’s growth spurt is still going strong.